Utopian Political Thought

University of Glasgow

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Utopian Political Thought

  • Host University

    University of Glasgow

  • Location

    Glasgow, Scotland

  • Area of Study

    Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Scotcat Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The course examines the utopian project, its aims and problems and the heretical challenge it poses to (liberal) political orthodoxy, by focusing on three key texts: More?s Utopia (More coined the term ?utopia?), Plato?s Republic (perhaps the earliest in the utopian tradition) and Rousseau?s Social Contract (a problematic text for liberal theory). The course explores central utopian themes these texts give rise to: the aim/s of the utopian project (education? a programme for radical reform? an exercise in romantic political fiction?), the primacy of justice over liberty, the malleability of human nature, the nature of the Good Life and the role of the State in promoting the Good. Close attention will be paid to the challenge from liberal critics, particularly Popper, Berlin and Nozick; and we also consider socialist and conservative critiques of the utopian project.
    By the end of this programme students will be able to:
    • identify the principal features of utopian political thought;
    • analyse and critically discuss in detail More?s Utopia; Plato?s Republic and Rousseau?s Social Contract and other works by these theorists;
    • demonstrate an understanding of the key issues addressed by utopian political thought ;
    • present and evaluate the critiques and defences of utopian political thought
    One class essay, 2,000-2,500 words: 50% of final mark.
    One two hour exam, students must attempt two questions: 50% of final mark.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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